Listing Data Entry Goes Wireless

New software will make enable Mid-Atlantic practitioners to enter data on new property listings directly on their PDAs.

April 1, 2003

Soon REALTORS® in the Mid-Atlantic states served by the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. will now be able to gather data while at a listing and easily upload it to the MLS with their Palm OS PDAs. The software tool making this advance possible for the 36,000 subscribers to MRIS MLS service in Rockville, Md., is the ListandSend Suite from Threewide Corp. ListandSend Mobile combines Palm PDA software with a Web-base application to give users templates and menus for gathering data while touring properties. The software also contains built-in verification and control functions to ensure all mandatory information is entered and that MLS requirements are met. The software incorporates more than 2800 “business rules” defining information the MLS requires for listings of commercial, residential, or land/lot properties. Threewide offers this solution on an annual subscription basis of $179 per year, per user.

“Real estate practitioners will no longer have to carry a lot of paper forms with them; they can enter the listing information directly into their Palm as they go, then upload it to the MLS,” says Bob Bemis, MRIS’ director of sales and product marketing.

A wizard built into the software guides the real estate practitioner through gathering all necessary information on electronic forms during the initial property tour. The product maintains lists of mandatory information required by the MLS and keeps track of which information has been entered and which has not. Data collection is segmented into three layers—Property, Structure, and Room—with prompts to remind the user what information is needed. In most cases, the data is entered by selecting from “pick lists” of possible features. A validation function lets users review the content to ensure they have all information required by the MLS before they leave the property.

Back at the office, users upload information from the Palm to the ListandSend Web site via their PCs. There, they can review and verify data, then click to send the listing to the MLS. Users can also send or retrieve listing data from the Web site, edit existing listings, and schedule an open house.

The March decision by the MLS, which services customers in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, to endorse the software follows a successful month-long field test by five Palm users at Coldwell Banker Premier Properties of Winchester ,Va. and Berkeley, W.Va. Officials of the company and MRIS had consulted with Threewide during development of the ListandSend suite to make it a solution responsive to the needs of real estate professionals and the data requirements of MRIS.

“Not only are real estate salespeople able to gather the listing information faster onsite, but the quality of information they collect is also much better,” reports Coldwell Banker Premier Properties CEO Steve DuBrueler. “Our staff doesn’t have to enter that information more than once, and the data is more complete at the time it is entered.”

Jim Miller, Coldwell Banker Premier Properties COO and consultant to Threewide, worked with the software company and MRIS on ListandSend's development.

“Another key advantage to the software is that this is a building block for a single point of data entry,” Miller agrees. “Once the information is digitized on the Palm, the same information can be sent to the MLS or a franchise’ s own back- end database, without additional keyboarding.”

Miller reports Threewide is currently negotiating with at least three more MLS organizations to make ListandSend available. The company also plans to develop versions for Pocket PC and Tablet PC devices and support the inclusion of digital photos as a component of listing information.

“This is a big advance, a giant leap toward making real estate professionals truly mobile,” predicts MRIS's Bemis.

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